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Job 18:5-21

Context

18:5 “Yes, 1  the lamp 2  of the wicked is extinguished;

his flame of fire 3  does not shine.

18:6 The light in his tent grows dark;

his lamp above him is extinguished. 4 

18:7 His vigorous steps 5  are restricted, 6 

and his own counsel throws him down. 7 

18:8 For he has been thrown into a net by his feet 8 

and he wanders into a mesh. 9 

18:9 A trap 10  seizes him by the heel;

a snare 11  grips him.

18:10 A rope is hidden for him 12  on the ground

and a trap for him 13  lies on the path.

18:11 Terrors 14  frighten him on all sides

and dog 15  his every step.

18:12 Calamity is 16  hungry for him, 17 

and misfortune is ready at his side. 18 

18:13 It eats away parts of his skin; 19 

the most terrible death 20  devours his limbs.

18:14 He is dragged from the security of his tent, 21 

and marched off 22  to the king 23  of terrors.

18:15 Fire resides in his tent; 24 

over his residence burning sulfur is scattered.

18:16 Below his roots dry up,

and his branches wither above.

18:17 His memory perishes from the earth,

he has no name in the land. 25 

18:18 He is driven 26  from light into darkness

and is banished from the world.

18:19 He has neither children nor descendants 27  among his people,

no survivor in those places he once stayed. 28 

18:20 People of the west 29  are appalled at his fate; 30 

people of the east are seized with horror, 31  saying, 32 

18:21 ‘Surely such is the residence 33  of an evil man;

and this is the place of one who has not known God.’” 34 

1 tn Hebrew גַּם (gam, “also; moreover”), in view of what has just been said.

2 sn The lamp or the light can have a number of uses in the Bible. Here it is probably an implied metaphor for prosperity and happiness, for the good life itself.

3 tn The expression is literally “the flame of his fire,” but the pronominal suffix qualifies the entire bound construction. The two words together intensify the idea of the flame.

4 tn The LXX interprets a little more precisely: “his lamp shall be put out with him.”

sn This thesis of Bildad will be questioned by Job in 21:17 – how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out?

5 tn Heb “the steps of his vigor,” the genitive being the attribute.

6 tn The verb צָרַר (tsarar) means “to be cramped; to be straitened; to be hemmed in.” The trouble has hemmed him in, so that he cannot walk with the full, vigorous steps he had before. The LXX has “Let the meanest of men spoil his goods.”

7 tn The LXX has “causes him to stumble,” which many commentators accept; but this involves the transposition of the three letters. The verb is שָׁלַךְ (shalakh, “throw”) not כָּשַׁל (kashal, “stumble”).

8 tn See Ps 25:15.

9 tn The word שְׂבָכָה (sÿvakhah) is used in scripture for the lattice window (2 Kgs 1:2). The Arabic cognate means “to be intertwined.” So the term could describe a net, matting, grating, or lattice. Here it would be the netting stretched over a pit.

10 tn This word פָּח (pakh) specifically refers to the snare of the fowler – thus a bird trap. But its plural seems to refer to nets in general (see Job 22:10).

11 tn This word does not occur elsewhere. But another word from the same root means “plait of hair,” and so this term has something to do with a net like a trellis or lattice.

12 tn Heb “his rope.” The suffix must be a genitive expressing that the trap was for him, to trap him, and so an objective genitive.

13 tn Heb “his trap.” The pronominal suffix is objective genitive here as well.

14 sn Bildad is referring here to all the things that afflict a person and cause terror. It would then be a metonymy of effect, the cause being the afflictions.

15 tn The verb פּוּץ (puts) in the Hiphil has the meaning “to pursue” and “to scatter.” It is followed by the expression “at his feet.” So the idea is easily derived: they chase him at his feet. But some commentators have other proposals. The most far-fetched is that of Ehrlich and Driver (ZAW 24 [1953]: 259-60) which has “and compel him to urinate on his feet,” one of many similar readings the NEB accepted from Driver.

16 tn The jussive is occasionally used without its normal sense and only as an imperfect (see GKC 323 §109.k).

17 tn There are a number of suggestions for אֹנוֹ (’ono). Some take it as “vigor”: thus “his strength is hungry.” Others take it as “iniquity”: thus “his iniquity/trouble is hungry.”

18 tn The expression means that misfortune is right there to destroy him whenever there is the opportunity.

19 tn The expression “the limbs of his skin” makes no sense, unless a poetic meaning of “parts” (or perhaps “layers”) is taken. The parallelism has “his skin” in the first colon, and “his limbs” in the second. One plausible suggestion is to take בַּדֵּי (badde, “limbs of”) in the first part to be בִּדְוָי (bidvay, “by a disease”; Dhorme, Wright, RSV). The verb has to be made passive, however. The versions have different things: The LXX has “let the branches of his feet be eaten”; the Syriac has “his cities will be swallowed up by force”; the Vulgate reads “let it devour the beauty of his skin”; and Targum Job has “it will devour the linen garments that cover his skin.”

20 tn The “firstborn of death” is the strongest child of death (Gen 49:3), or the deadliest death (like the “firstborn of the poor, the poorest). The phrase means the most terrible death (A. B. Davidson, Job, 134).

21 tn Heb “from his tent, his security.” The apposition serves to modify the tent as his security.

22 tn The verb is the Hiphil of צָעַד (tsaad, “to lead away”). The problem is that the form is either a third feminine (Rashi thought it was referring to Job’s wife) or the second person. There is a good deal of debate over the possibility of the prefix t- being a variant for the third masculine form. The evidence in Ugaritic and Akkadian is mixed, stronger for the plural than the singular. Gesenius has some samples where the third feminine form might also be used for the passive if there is no expressed subject (see GKC 459 §144.b), but the evidence is not strong. The simplest choices are to change the prefix to a י (yod), or argue that the ת (tav) can be masculine, or follow Gesenius.

23 sn This is a reference to death, the king of all terrors. Other identifications are made in the commentaries: Mot, the Ugaritic god of death; Nergal of the Babylonians; Molech of the Canaanites, the one to whom people sent emissaries.

24 tn This line is difficult as well. The verb, again a third feminine form, says “it dwells in his tent.” But the next part (מִבְּלִי לוֹ, mibbÿli lo) means something like “things of what are not his.” The best that can be made of the MT is “There shall live in his tent they that are not his” (referring to persons and animals; see J. E. Hartley, Job [NICOT], 279). G. R. Driver and G. B. Gray (Job [ICC], 2:161) refer “that which is naught of his” to weeds and wild animals. M. Dahood suggested a reading מַבֶּל (mabbel) and a connection to Akkadian nablu, “fire” (cf. Ugaritic nbl). The interchange of m and n is not a problem, and the parallelism with the next line makes good sense (“Some Northwest Semitic words in Job,” Bib 38 [1957]: 312ff.). Others suggest an emendation to get “night-hag” or vampire. This suggestion, as well as Driver’s “mixed herbs,” are linked to the idea of exorcism. But if a change is to be made, Dahood’s is the most compelling.

25 tn Heb “outside.” Cf. ESV, “in the street,” referring to absence from his community’s memory.

26 tn The verbs in this verse are plural; without the expressed subject they should be taken in the passive sense.

27 tn The two words נִין (nin, “offspring”) and נֶכֶד (nekhed, “posterity”) are always together and form an alliteration. This is hard to capture in English, but some have tried: Moffatt had “son and scion,” and Tur-Sinai had “breed or brood.” But the words are best simply translated as “lineage and posterity” or as in the NIV “offspring or descendants.”

28 tn Heb “in his sojournings.” The verb גּוּר (gur) means “to reside; to sojourn” temporarily, without land rights. Even this word has been selected to stress the temporary nature of his stay on earth.

29 tn The word אַחֲרֹנִים (’akharonim) means “those [men] coming after.” And the next word, קַדְמֹנִים (qadmonim), means “those [men] coming before.” Some commentators have tried to see here references to people who lived before and people who lived after, but that does not explain their being appalled at the fate of the wicked. So the normal way this is taken is in connection to the geography, notably the seas – “the hinder sea” refers to the Mediterranean, the West, and “the front sea” refers to the Dead Sea (Zech 14:8), namely, the East. The versions understood this as temporal: “the last groaned for him, and wonder seized the first” (LXX).

30 tn Heb “his day.”

31 tn The expression has “they seize horror.” The RSV renders this “horror seizes them.” The same idiom is found in Job 21:6: “laid hold on shuddering.” The idiom would solve the grammatical problem, and not change the meaning greatly; but it would change the parallelism.

32 tn The word “saying” is supplied in the translation to mark and introduce the following as a quotation of these people who are seized with horror. The alternative is to take v. 21 as Bildad’s own summary statement (cf. G. R. Driver and G. B. Gray, Job [ICC], 2:162; J. E. Hartley, Job [NICOT], 280).

33 tn The term is in the plural, “the tabernacles”; it should be taken as a plural of local extension (see GKC 397 §124.b).

34 tn The word “place” is in construct; the clause following it replaces the genitive: “this is the place of – he has not known God.”



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